Fortunate timing and luck brought central Illinois native Lyndsi Baker to Paris and her work with La Tablée des Chefs, an upstart food recovery and redistribution agency that also promotes culinary education and healthy eating, particularly with at-risk students. She and a number of volunteers from La Tablée des Chefs pair restaurants, hotels and caterers with food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Its most recent project brings chefs to inner-city schools to teach young people the basic of cooking.
While most people view France as the gastronomic capital of world, Baker pointed to a report indicating that 11% of French adults face “food insecurity”, defined as all people at all times not having access to “sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a health and active life”. That number jumps to 40% when “quality food insecurity” – the number of persons who have enough to eat, but not always the preferred food – is factored in.
At the moment, the agency is attracting attention in France. Last year, it was one of 15 projects recognized (among 800 nominations) through “La France s´engage”, which supports socially innovative organizations. According to Lynsi Baker, the award mean that her agency will be financed for the next three years, as well as enjoy strategic support for its development and growth throughout the country. French President François Hollande personally presented Lyndsi Baker the award at a December ceremony.